IOC still concerned about Rio water pollution

Mon Jun 8, 2015 4:37pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

LAUSANNE (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still concerned about the water pollution in Rio de Janeiro barely one year before it hosts the Olympic Games, its president Thomas Bach said on Monday.

Rio de Janeiro had originally pledged to reduce pollution in the notoriously fetid Guanabara Bay by 80 percent but officials confirmed in March that the target will not be reached.

Instead, they are now concentrating only on parts of the bay where sailing competitions will take place although they have insisted that these areas will be safe.

"We can see significant progress, at the same time we have asked the organizing committee to convey our concerns with regard to the issues of the water quality we are still facing in Rio," Bach told reporters.

"The IOC executive board is watching this situation very closely and we are expecting more information and more reports by the time of our next meeting, next month in Kuala Lumpur.

"We are approaching major test events in August and we all need to see progress in this regard.

"I'm not an expert in water pollution, we have to leave it to the experts to tell us what is achievable, and in which time frame.

"These experts are telling us it is still achievable to have these competitions in safe water conditions and we have been advised today from the local organizing committee that this advice has not changed."   Continued...

A resident of the Vila Autodromo favela rides his bicycle in front of construction work for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil June 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Pilar Olivares